Being a mother of young children
significantly lowers her wage or salary
Helsinki (17.11.2006 - Juhani Artto) Being a mother of young
children lowers her wage or salary. Barely anybody would disagree with this claim. But how
large is the impact of motherhood on women's wages and salaries?
Now a new study by the Finnish researcher Jenni Kellokumpu brings a new clarity to the
issue. Motherhood's negative impact on the wages and salaries of mothers of young children
On average, the "family gap" is 11 per cent. When the sample includes only
working women, the disadvantage goes down to 10 per cent. Among men, no corresponding
disadvantage was found.
The negative impact on a woman's wage or salary grows steeply with more young children in
the family. One under school-age child means a wage or salary reduction of about 10 per
cent, two under school-age children a reduction of 19 per cent and three under school-age
children a reduction of even 30 per cent.
The gap shrinks to 5 per cent when the child or the children go to school. In Finland,
children go to school at the age of 7 on average (although sometimes earlier with special
The results of the study underline the need to reform the system of sharing costs for
young children. At present the system treats mothers of young children unfairly. There is
no acceptable reason why their wages and salaries should be lower than wages and salaries
for childless women.
In the study, a quantitative comparison is made between women who have identical jobs,
work experiences and education. The study is based on a sample of 7,224 women, from ages
18 to 64. The statistical data, offered by Statistics Finland, concerns the year 2001.